A Contemporary Study of Musical Arts: Informed by African Indigenous Knowledge Systems: Volume 5, Book 1
60 pages

A Contemporary Study of Musical Arts: Informed by African Indigenous Knowledge Systems: Volume 5, Book 1 , livre ebook


YouScribe est heureux de vous offrir cette publication
60 pages
YouScribe est heureux de vous offrir cette publication


Book 1: Concert drum solos and Drummistic piano solosVolume 5 is on modern African classical drumming as an instrument of specialization for contemporary concert performances. It contains repertory for solo drumming, drum and voice/saxophone/trumpet duos, and intercultural drum ensemble works.The imperatives of advancing the indigenous philosophy and theory into global classical practices have informed the literary compositions demonstrating indigenous African compositional theory.Meki Nzewi, a Professor of African music, Music Department, University of Pretoria, is an African musical arts system researcher, and has published on the philosophy, theory and performance practice. He is a composer, musical dramatist and modern classical performer on African drums. He is the Centre/Programme Director of the Centre for Indigenous African Instrumental Music and Dance Practices (CIIMDA), Pretoria, which he conceptualised, and past President of PASMAE.O’dyke Nzewi is an African classical drummer. He gives workshops on the theory and practice of African traditional drum music. He is currently a consultant with the Centre for Indigenous Instrumental Music and Dance Practices (CIIMDA). He is also pursuing a master’s degree in Music Technology, at the University of Pretoria. He has given concerts on the African classical drumming style in different parts of Europe and Africa.



Publié par
Date de parution 22 mars 2012
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781920051662
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 1 Mo


Ciimda series A contemporary study of musical arts informed by African indigenous knowledge systems Volume 5: Theory and practice of modern African classical drum music Book 1: Concert drum solos and drummistic piano solos Authors: Meki Nzewi and Odyke Nzewi Music typesetting & illustrations: Odyke Nzewi Reviewer and editor: Christopher Walton Copy editor: Hester Honey Music instrument illustrations: Themba Simabine Proofreading: Chérie M. Vermaak Book design and typesetting: Simon van Gend ISBN 9781920051662 © 2007 Centre for Indigenous Instrumental African Music and Dance (Ciimda) First edition, first impression All rights reserved Production management: Compress www.compress.co.za
This volume is dedicated to Israel Anyahuru, my mentor, musical spirit guide and friend. – Meki Nzewi
THEORYANDPRACTICEOFMODERNAFRICANCLASSICALDRUMMINGThe drum The bells String instruments Rattles and shakers The finger piano Panpipes
CONCERT,EDUCATIONANDHUMANIZINGOBJECTIVESTHEORYANDPRACTICERationalizing advancement The psychological basis of African drum ensemble music Advancement initiatives Philosophy and theory of idiomatic categories in ensemble music creativity Objectives of modern classical drum music Oral solo drumming
ENSEMBLEDRUMMUSICClassroom education in the African musical arts Applied drum ensemble playshopping General
THEWRITTENCLASSICALCONCERTGENREDrum notation Classical drumming exercises
1 1 3 3 4 4 4
6 6 6 7 9 10 10
12 12 12 14
16 16 17
CONCERTDRUMSOLOSANDDRUMMISTICPIANOSOLOSDrum solos New Voice for Old Sound No. 2Hop Along(Igba drum solo) Ngedegwum Oso na Ije Onyedimma Akasa Dance Egwu n’ Amu Drummistic piano solos Omaledo Intermezzo: “Searching No. 2” Intermission – Music: Searching No. 3
20 20 21 26 29 35 38 43 46 46 50 54
The inventor of the bomb is idolized, a fantastic human hero The designer of a wheelchair is taken for granted, another ordinary human The bomb explodes, killing masses, maiming surviving few The wheelchair provides human support for the maimed survivors A sensible human world INDEED! HUMPH! What has this got to do with the musical arts?
The typical African openended membrane drum is your soul mate. It is easy to communicate and relate to. It tunes your spirit and soothes your moods. It facilitates your bonding rela tionship with others. It massages your sensitive organs. It absorbs your strokes, and does not tell you what you do not want to hear. It regenerates your spiritual wellness and psychical health. The drum is a commonly used instrument of musical arts practice all over Africa, which, over the ages, has captured global attention. The why and how of the African drum and the epistemology of drum music conceptualizations that compel such fascination, however, re main insufficiently explored. There are many indigenous drumming traditions in Africa, and all share common, funda mental theoretical and technological principles. Every drum type or species, and its ensemble music theory, serve a specific objective in the culture of origin. The basic theoretical and scientific principles informing African drumbased music, however, manifest cultural pecu liarities that are environmentally and historically determined. The variations in performance technique and tonal/sonic manipulation are derived from the technology as well as the sonic rationalizations that accomplish the utilitarian deployment of a drum or drum music type in a culture. The more technically and compositionally complex conceptualizations, such as those for the tuned drum rows –ese,ukomandmgbaof the Igbo of Nigeria (Nzewi, 1977), theentengaandnamadduof Buganda, Busoga, Bugwere and Langa of Uganda (Wachsmann, 1965) – are rare and not under consideration here, in spite of modern notation symbols and classical concert compositional idioms having been developed for the Igbo drum row species (Nzewi, ibid). The primary commitment during our years of research and advancement studies regard ing African indigenous drum music conceptualizations and practices has been to discern the common philosophical, theoretical and scientific fundamentals, and to advance these for contemporary classroom education, modern literary concert performances, specialized group or personaltherapy applications and other socialization as well as creative utilizations. We have designed a modern African classical drumming style that captures and updates the basic technical, creative and performance principles that underpin various cultural performance
practices and compositional idioms. The theory and technique of modern African classical drumming thus imparts the generic principles of African drum music creativity, performance and humanistic deployment. A competent modern classical drummer trained in the written genre becomes automatically skilled to perform the oral genre, style and type of any Afri can culture after brief orientation. That is because standard oral procedure is central to our training in drum literacy skill. A person who has already acquired classical music literacy can easily acquire the skill to perform music written for the drum or any other indigenous melorhythmic instrument. On the other hand, a competent performer of any particular style or type of African drum music cannot perform the written genre or easily perform other cultural drumming styles without the generic literacy skill having been acquired. Some indigenous drum music styles and types in Africa are classical in their respective indigenous philosophical, theoretical and methodological formulations. We use the term clas sical in the sense of developing through a systematic approach to creativity that results in standardized theoretical and performance procedures such as mark indigenous musical arts types basic to utilitarian intentions. The indigenous conceptual and contextual imperatives inform the theory of structures and performance practice in the modern classical African drum music style specifically designed for contemporary contexts of concerts, classroom creativity 1 and performance education, as well as appliedplayshopping.This volume provides essen tial expositions that introduce samples of our modern classical repertory. The philosophical and theoretical insights will guide a scholar, performer, teacher, learner, general practitioner/ enthusiast or selftherapist who wishes to engage in African drum music practice with intel lectual enlightenment. The discourse that prefaces the written compositions for each of the three series is virtually the same. Supplementary explication specific to a modern classical drum music category is provided as appropriate for the particular series. The texts provide epistemological grounding for cognitively appreciating the indigenous conceptualizations and configurations that inform the modern classical compositions and contemporary human applications. Volume 5 Book 3 on intercultural concert ensembles, basic to drum music theory has an appendix that samples the written testimony of music students brought up in the Eu ropean classical music tradition, and who were introduced to African modern classical drum 2 ming in their first year at the Department of Music, University of Pretoria, South Africa. The written compositions in the three concert categories exemplify the imperative literacy procedure for contemporary advancement rationalizations. The theoretical procedures and compositional techniques are therefore markedly African indigenous, and only marginally derive from any period or style of European classical music theory. The compositions are grouped for publication in the following three categories:
Volume 5 Book 1 – Drum solos and drummistic piano solos Volume 5 Book 2 – Concert duos (drum and voice/woodwind/horns) Volume 5 Book 3 – Intercultural concert ensembles
1 We prefer the term,playshopto what is commonly termedworkshopbecause it conveys our approach, which is derived from the original intentions, rationalized into the indigenous African concept of making music together: playful interactions that negotiate (shopping for) communal dispositions and salubrious spirituality while gaining knowledge. ‘Workshop’ evokes differ ent attitudinal orientations. 2 The reader of the three series in this volume may find it more intellectually illuminating and culturally enlightening to read the testimonies in the appendix to Volume 3 before proceeding with the introductory text. They are sampled narrative accounts of the experiences and reflections of firstyear music students who completed the onesemester African music module “Introduc tion to African music” at the Music Department, University of Pretoria, South Africa. The educational methodology applied in the class prioritizes gaining intellectual insight through practically experiencing philosophy and theory.
The mother drummer quips to his audience: “Do you hear what the drum is saying?”
We start with a brief introduction to some African musical instruments:
The drum
The drum from all over Africa can be discussed musically as an instrument that pro duces two or more primary levels of tone (not definite pitch). As such, the African drum is normally used as a singing or talking musical instrument. Indigenous drum technology carefully selects researched material components. Not all drums have a skin membrane as a component material part. Thus there are membrane or skin drums, wooden slit drums, calabash drums, clay bowl drums, and water pot drums. The wooden slit drum is carved out of logs of wood, and has two lips that produce different tone levels. African languages are tonal, and the musical interval between the two lips of a slit drum quite often approximates the primary speech tones of the culture group that owns it. The hollow in a slit drum provides the resonating chamber. Messages within a community or between linguistically homologous communities in indigenous African societies were coded and communicated by means of slit drums. Hence the slit drum is a surrogate language communication instrument, and the ar chetypal telegraphic instrument that relies on the tones and the rhythm of language. The calabash drum made of a single material could be a hemispherical calabash shell. Some cultures immerse the rim of a hemispherical calabash shell in a bowl of water for enhanced mellow resonance. The top and sides of the calabash are beaten with sticks or with the hand. The hollow enclosed between the empty calabash shell and the water is the resonating chamber. Another rare species of drum is a completely round calabash with a round mouth (sound opening), which bounces on a hard surface when beaten. The water pot drum is of two types. The type specifically conceived as a musical in strument has an opening at the base of the neck in addition to the mouth atop the neck of a normal water pot. Beaten with the palms of the hands, the manipulation of the side and top openings produces drum tunes. The other type is a large, ordinary water pot played with felt to produce a booming bass tone. This type is normally used as a pulsemarking instrument that keeps the regulatory beat that focuses the struc turally differentiated layers of a typical indigenous music ensemble texture. Playing technique (open and closed strokes) produces two variant shades of the only available tone level.
The membrane drum is of two primary types: the single membrane drum and the double membrane drum. The single membrane drum could have a mortarshell (closed bottom) or openended wooden frame. The wooden frame of a double membrane drum proper must be hollow from one end to the other. Both sides are then covered with skin. There is a wide variety of both single membrane and double membrane drums with respect to shape, size, and material of shell. The hollow shell of a membrane drum could be carved out of wood, made of clay or of a large hemispherical gourd. Depending on the size and the construction of a drum, it could be played by stationary or mobile musicians. Openended membrane drums need to have the open end totally or partially open in order to produce the requisite quality of sound of the African drum. Hence some large, longbodied drums that cannot be carried about by the drummer during performances are played slanted, supported by wooden sticks or the performer’s body in order to have the open end slightly open. When a large, longbodied membrane drum is played standing with the open end flat on the ground, only one muffled primary tone is pos sible unless there is a sound opening somewhere on the drum shell. Otherwise, open ended membrane drums normally produce at least two distinct primary tone levels. The cultural area as well as the type of drum recommends whether a drum is played with sticks, hands, one stick and one hand or two hands and the heel of one foot, in which instance the drummer sits on the drum. Friction drums also occur. The membrane could be fixed to a drumhead by means of vegetable or skin thongs in a variety of techniques, or with wooden pegs driven through the skin into the side of the drumhead. In other instances, natural gummy saps commonly of vegetable origin could be used to gum the skin around the drumhead. A drum, depending on the species and size, could be played standing, sitting on the ground or on top of the drum, with the drum trapped between the legs/thighs or trapped between the armpit and body, particularly the hourglass tension drums, or hung over the shoulder. Very large drums would be carried on the head or shoulder by one person and played by another while the performance is travelling. Other types could be tied to the waist above the ground by means of a strap, and played while standing. The primary high tone level on a drum is an open stroke that is produced when the rim of the membrane is tapped or struck with the fingers. The primary low sound is an open stroke produced when the membrane surface is beaten towards the centre with the cupped or flat palm, as long as the base of the palm hits the skin. A sharp, held slap with stiff fingers at the rim also produces a primary tone level. Held strokes at the rim or centre produce secondary, muted tone qualities. Drums can produce glissando effects with a rising tone or a descending tone when rapidly stroked, while the base of a palm or a finger is pressed down and slid along the skin surface from the rim to the centre and vice versa. The African drum is a subtle melodic instrument. Tunes played on drums are cre ated by the sensitive manipulation of the three primary levels of tone, as well as the secondary muted shades of tone possible on a drum species. This is comparable to combining primary tone levels and secondary tonal inflexions for semantic articula tion of the syllables of a language in verbal speech. Hence the African drum of any species is a melorhythmic instrument, and is definitely not conceived of or performed as a percussion instrument. A melorhythmic instrument then plays musical themes that could easily be reproduced by the human voice as melodies that capture the
fundamental pitchequivalents of the tone levels. The drum “sings” or “talks” when a rhythm structure is produced with a combination of the primary and secondary tone levels. Drum singing/talking is used as an effective pedagogic device in indigenous instrumental music education – mnemonic pedagogy. The drum may be deployed musically to produce percussive effects when a purely rhythmic pattern is played at only one tone level. The doubleended hourglass drum can produce a tonal range of about an octave. The smaller species of mortarshell drums, such as the component drums of drum row instruments, produce only one primary pitch level with secondary shades of tone, depending on the striking technique. Tuned drum rows play melodies based on the scale of a culture’s tone row system, and range from four to as many as ten component pitchgraded drums. The drum, basically, is a form of language simulation and communication technology. Drum signalling, which was common in Africa, is the prototype, rudimentary teleg raphy. The idea of transmitting messages over distances by means of sound codes is an original African invention, basic to African musical technology and the science of sound. Knowledge of the coding indices (the tone levels and rhythm of a tonal lan guage, as well as the provenance or context of the sound production) enabled cogni tive persons to decode the messages. The drum equally is used as a surrogate speech instrument. In some African cultures, the drum instantly engages in a conversation with a speaking human (human verbal instrumental voice dialogue), or transmits instructions or messages to designated per sons within the context of a performance. When deployed musically, the voice of the drum, like the singing/reciting human voice, is revered as an indisputable spirit voice. Hence what the drum or an indigenous musician declared in music was regarded as a supranormal message or command that had to be obeyed. Hence also, indigenous musicians specializing in the utilitarian music types were sacrosanct, inviolable, and enjoyed the status and respect accorded to religious priests in musical arts perform ance circumstances. Spoken words can lie and betray; indigenous music and dance are frank divine communications that reveal. In most cultures, drums may be used in pairs of different sizes and thereby provide primary tone levels played by different performers in music ensembles. One drum is designated as female, the other male. Most African cultures regard the larger drum of a pair as female. The female drum of a pair has a lower, more commanding tone and would normally play the ensemble role of the mother instrument that takes major solos and also talks. When drums are paired, the phrases or fragments played on the female and male drums in combination would generally complement one another to produce a single primary ensemble theme. Otherwise, the male acts as the support for the female playing the prominent or “mother” instrument role. In African indigenous ensembles, the instrumentation and structural rationalization of ensemble parts are commonly conceptualized to reflect the roles played by members of a typical Afri can family. The drum ensemble therefore is structured like a normal human family in which the woman traditionally is the manager of the family. In some – not many – cultures the malefemale designation is reversed for philosophical or psychological reasons. In some other cultures, three to four drums played by different performers could constitute the key instruments in a drum music ensemble. African musical instruments, including most drums, are carefully tuned during con struction, and fine tuned before a performance. In the case of some drum types, tun ing pegs are fixed in a variety of techniques. Tensioning strings could also serve as a
tuning device, depending on how the skin is laced to the frame of the drum. Using a tuning mallet, for tapping the area of the skin where it is in contact with the wooden frame, raises the tone level during finetuning, especially for mortarshell drums. Heating the drum in the sun or by the side of a fire is another technique for raising the tone level of drums with or without tuning pegs. Rubbing water or spittle on the skin of a hightuned drum lowers the tone to the desired level. The tenseness or mel lowness of the primary pitch of a drum would be dictated by the context as well as the human sentiments pertaining to its use. A drum furthermore needs to be properly stored after use. The pitch and “voice” quality of a drum that has not been played for a while rises or drops, depending on the type of drum and the atmospheric conditions that affect the skin. Normally an openended membrane drum is stored lying on its side in order to “breathe” properly (achieved by circulation of air inside the body) and retain its sonic quality and strength of material. In some African cultures, special drums are stored on a raft built above the fireplace to insure the “life” of the voice (timbre). The skin of a drum that is not played at all, and is not appropriately stored, soon deteriorates, but playing the drum enhances its “life” and “voice”. It is advisable to refrain from placing objects on the membrane of a drum. The skin could be damaged. If a drum skin bursts or the lace snaps during a performance, it is replaceable. If the shell breaks or develops a serious crack, the drum is ruined as a musical instrument. Materials such as wood and skin for building drums are specially tested and selected. Some empowering/activating metascientific rituals could be mandatory during the process of constructing spiritually potent instruments. This could start with the proc ess of procuring the materials, or could occur at the stage of deploying the instru ment in public use. Certain types of resonant wood are preferred by various cultures, depending on the type and sonic potential of wood available from the local vegeta tion. Tested types of hard wood are commonly preferred for enhanced ambience and resonance. The skin of certain, not all, bush animals is preferred for skinning drums because of the special resonance it produces. The quality of skin for making drums depends on what the animal is seen to feed on. The skin of cows and goats is thicker and not as sonorous as the skin of certain bush animals, but could be used for skin ning large drums that are played with wooden mallets. Skin that has blood in the veins is known to be the best for building drums because it is stronger and “alive”, and thereby produces healthier sonic vibrations that soothe brain and body tissues. When blood has drained away from the veins in the skin, as in the case of an animal caught in a trap overnight, some decay may have set in, and the skin will be weak in material as well as sonic health. Such skin breaks more easily in performance. A drum made with inferior skin is easily recognized because the skin surface is usually flat and white, while the veins or patches of blood would be visible when a “live” skin is used to build a quality drum. The drum functions as a cultural object and a symbol. The particular cultural symbol ism determines the size, shape, special materials of construction, sculptural embel lishment, preservation, occasion and period of performance, as well as the cultural meaning of the sound that is produced, and who is qualified to play it. Not all the carvings on drums, especially drums made to attract contemporary curio buyers, carry significance; it may just be decorative artwork. In some cultures, specific drums are endowed with religious or political symbolism. The public appearance and sound of such a drum signifies the societal idea or institu
The bells
String instruments
String instrument types range from the singlestring bow, of which there are many varieties that are played as solo instruments or in ensembles or as private musical in struments for personal solace, to string instrument types with multiple strings. Bows may be bowed or struck. When bowed, rosin is applied to the bow. The bow is com mon to most cultural groups in Africa. Harps and lutes are more technologically elaborate and musically complex string instruments found in Africa. Some species of lute are indigenous to Africa. The guitarshaped type is Arabian in origin, and has been assimilated into music making in the African societies that have
tion that it represents. The domba drum of the Venda, for instance, is an ethnic symbol housed in a secret, highly protected location. It is not accessible to the public, par ticularly outsiders. The playing of the original domba drum thus has special cultural significance beyond the musical essence for the cognitive Venda person. The drum, generally, is an iconic metaphor in Africa of the union of the male and the female spirits – the skin is regarded as the essence of the woman and the drumstick or hand as the essence of the man. The physical interaction between the skin and the beater results in a potent action that gives “birth” to conducive or objective sound. This metaphoric rationalization concerning the drum prescribes the sex that plays the drum in a culture, and for what delicate or esoteric associations. More commonly, men as well as women who have reached the age of menopause play the drum. In younger women’s musical arts groups, men would be required to play the drums, though females currently play the maropa drum in Pedi and Venda societies of South Africa, and in modern settings. The player straddles the drum between the legs and uses hands or drumsticks as beaters. The sound of the drum is conceived in Africa as elevated (spiritual) or psychical communion. The sound of the drum affects the mind in a manner that is psychically therapeutic or, if programmed accordingly, induces mood excitation. Depending on the nature of the sound, and the management of structure and form in the composi tion, automatic responses that range from physical activity to altered consciousness or sedation may be induced. Originally, a primary intention of drum music in Africa was psychic therapy enhanced by the manner of presentation and other ensemble compo nents involving instrumental and thematic ramifications. The African drum produces healing sonic energy and also imbues and enriches benign spirituality. Hence it is used in various ways and situations in rituals as a healing musical instrument, for both mass and personal psychical health management. The tones produced on the drum generate raw or cluster harmonics, the healing en ergy of which massages the mind. Hence experiencing the right type of drum sound and music means undergoing metaphysical management of mental tension or other states of being.
The sound of the drum summons the community to share cathartic somatic energy. The drum is an agent of socialspiritual communion. To submit to the spirit of drum music is to share harmonious company and feelings with other humans. To imbibe the sonic energy of properly rationalized drum music is to experience spiritually elevating entertainment.
far as technology and sonic or compositional potential is concerned. These bells range from single metal bells – small to medium large –to the large (giant) bell species that stand about one metre from the closed apex to the flared rim. Twin bells (male and fe male producing different tone levels) joined together at the apex and ranging from the small to the large species that could have religious symbolism are also found in this society. In some Ghanaian cultures, the double bell has motherandchild symbolism (the mother carrying a child on the back, for instance thegankogui). In other species of bells such as found among the Igbo, the male and female are joined side by side at the apexes. The quadruple bell represents the most advanced Igbo bell technology and type of bell, and is constructed specifically for playing the specialized music of Ogene Anuka, a twoperson orchestra in which the quadruple bell is complemented with a mediumsized double bell played by the second performer. The orchestra plays complex compositional structures with a sixtone scale and a number of additional tonal inflexions (Nzewi, 2000). Bells in Africa are melorhythmic instruments: a variety of tone levels and shades are possible, even in a single bell, depending on the striking and damping techniques. Double bells have two opentone levels while quadruple bells have four opentone pitches. There is much misunderstanding concerning the role of the bell in African instru mental music ensembles. The small single bell is often used as a “phrasing reference” instrument, not a time line instrument, as is reported in most literature on African music. The same single bell could be used differently in an ensemble as an “action motivation” instrument, like the double bells. The large giantsized bells, as well as the quadruple bell, are deployed musically as mother instruments. The giant, single bell is normally a “rhythmofdance” instrument that outlines the rhythmiceurhythmic es sence of the choreographic rhythm and gestures of Stylized Formation dances. It also calls and directs dance sequences in solo dances. Bells are held in one hand and played with a stick or a padded striker held in the other. A single bell is also played with two sticks when it is clasped under the knee joint and deployed as an “action motivation” instrument. The bell is tuned during construction. The Ogene Anuka manufacturers normally use a standard tuning model for tuning a new instrument during construction. Bells made of cast iron are healthimbuing instruments. Special bell music structures were used for anaesthetic purposes by traditional orthopaedics who mend broken bones.
Gongs are not indigenous to black Africa; they are metal discs, commonly of bronze, used as musical instruments in some Asian cultures. In Africa, bells are made by smiths, from flat sheets of cast iron processed by means of indigenous smelting tech nology. Africa boasts the largest species and variety of bells in the world. These bells are conical metal instruments made by welding two curved metal lobes along the lateral rims. Bells are more common in the West African societies and other societies that have a long tradition of iron ore smelting technology. Bells could be single, paired (double) or quadruple. The Igbo society of Nigeria probably has the widest variety of bells as
Rattles and shakers
African musical cultures have developed a vast variety of other types of wind instruments made from animal horns and bones, wood, shells of seeds and clay. Then there are xylophones that are standard keyboard instruments suitable for the study of chordalharmonic cultures in Africa, which range in complexity from the portable, solo played types to the complex,Chopixylophone orchestra of Mozambique (Kirby, 1934). Drums of many types and species are commonly featured with virtually any other class of musical instrument. The dynamic level of the drum play in such indigenous ensemble/orches tra combinations would be guided by the dynamic potential of the other instrument(s) as well as the venue of a performance – intimate or open air. In contemporary African music studies and performances we have demonstrated that the African drum, being a most versatile and undiscriminating musical instrument, can be played in harmonious combination with any
A finger piano is made of a portable sounding box or bowl with a flat board with a bridge on which prongs or lamellas are mounted in such a manner that the longer
had extended contact with the Arab presence in Africa. The African lute is shaped like a truncated triangle with the sounding box fixed to the truncated apex. The strings are attached from a bar at the base of the inverted triangle to another bar on the sounding box. The box could be a hemispherical calabash shell or a wooden box, and the strings are of gut, palm ribs or other fibres. The harp is common among most cultural groups in West Africa. The kora of the Jali and Griot music cultural areas of West Africa is the most technologically advanced species of harp with up to 21 strings. The professional Jali and Griot music families play it. The kora could be played as a solo instrument, or in combination with vocal performance. A performer may start playing from childhood. Meticulous tuning is undertaken before a performance. African musicians generally are very particular about the proper tuning of tuneable instruments in an ensemble.
Panpipes are not widely distributed in Africa. Indigenous panpipes are constructed from hollow vegetable tubes, while some modern varieties now use rubber, plastic or metal tubes. In musical terms, a panpipe is a construction of several tubes of different lengths (also diameters), and therefore pitches, which are stringed together in a raft in scalar order. The ends of the pipes are level at the blowing end, while the bottom arrangement could be oblique or “V”shaped, or be arranged in any irregular shape dictated by the lengths/pitches of the pipes. A panpipe is a soft “voiced” melody instrument played by one artist, mostly for pri vate music making. In South African music cultures, thetshikonaof the Venda and thedinakaof the Pedi distribute such pipes to individual players in a noteproducing order commonly referred to as the hocket technique, which may give rise to poly phonic texture. Thetshikona anddinakaensemble musical performances with are drum accompaniment, which involve dances as well as playing actions that compel movement. The number and combination of notes that make up a panpipe (stringed together or allocated to individual dancing pipers), as well as the scale or tone row of the tunes that are played, would depend on the scale or tone row system developed by a music culture.
The finger piano
Rattles and shakers are classified as purely percussive musical instruments in African musical thinking. There are many different types and species of these instruments on the African continent, each with a peculiar sound production technique. The material for construction depends on what is available in the different natural cultural environments. Rattles are normally bunched hard objects – bells, seeds shells, sticks, animal shells, etc. – that produce sharp or jingling sounds when beaten or shaken. The quality of sound produced with rattles depends on the peculiar natural timbre of the objects that are bunched together. Shakers generally are resonant containers that enclose hard objects like seeds. When the enclosed seeds make contact with the sounding body of the container, harsh, per cussive sound is produced. The quality of sound produced on shakers would be derived from the timbre of the sounding body. Containers range from wickerwork containers of many shapes and sizes, to gourds and calabashes and, nowadays, discarded metal containers or containers constructed by smiths. The species made from gourds is the gourd object covered with a net of hard seeds or other stringed objects. Shakers and rattles could be used as independent musical instruments on which pure ly rhythmic patterns are played with one or both hands. Others are sources of sym pathetic sound and are worn on moving parts of the body (legs, hands, waist, chest, head) or are attached to other musical instruments such as the drum or finger piano. The rhythm produced by the moving or dancing parts of the body to which they are attached is made audible by these instruments. In other words, they resonate or translate the rhythm of dance movements into sound, or give sonic vibrancy to the physical movements of other instrument parts. Shakers and rattles belong to the action motivation category of African ensemble instrument roles.
ends that are played are raised above the board. The length and thickness of a prong/ lamella determines its pitch. The finger piano essentially occurs as a common keyboard instrument all over Af rica. The sounding board could be a calabash or a wooden box/board. The number of prongs, which determines the available scale range, could be as few as four and as many as 25 and more. The most complex professionally used species are found among East and Central African societies, where doubledeck species are also found. A finger piano could be played with the thumb or the fingers striking the prongs/la mellas downward or upwards, depending on the species and the culture. The finger piano is a softsounding, often personal, instrument. The sound produced by the prongs/lamellas is resonated by the sounding box. The finger piano is also used as a group musicmaking instrument, sometimes in vocal music ensembles, and could be further accompanied with rattles or shakers.
other musical instrument – melodic, percussive, melorhythmic, key or chordsensitive – from any part of the world.
References Kirby, P. C. 1934.The musical instruments of the native races of South Africa. London: OUP. Nzewi, M. E. 1977. The master musician and the music ofese,ukomandmgbaensembles in Ngwa, Igbo society. PhD. Thesis. Queens University, Belfast. Nzewi, M. E. 1990.Ese music: Notation and modern concert presentation. Bayreuth: IwalewaHaus. Nzewi, O. E. 2000. The Technology and Music of the Nigerian IgboOgene AnukaBell Orchestra.Leon ardo Music Journal,10: 2531. Wachsmann, K. P. 1965. Some speculations concerning a drum chime in Buganda.MAN, LXV: 18.
Rationalizing advancement
What an ensemble music type intends to achieve in the society prescribes creativity and performance practice. Musical creativity, production and presentation in indigenous Africa are governed by standard practices and procedures. There is a systematic approach to the composition, choice and construction of musical instruments for an ensemble, and also prin ciples regulating how, where, when and by whom a music type is composed, presented and experienced. Contemporary African minds are sadly bewitched by exotic modern religions and knowledge systems that are parallel in concept and content to the African prototypes, but which often are deleterious but fanciful imported goods and ideas that instil a consumer mentality. Our research, education and advancement commitments aim to regenerate Africa’s indigenous knowledge systems in manners that emphasize the original intellectual mettle of the African knowledge heritage. The ultimate aim is to provide authoritatively African en lightenment and enrichment to the global confluence of human knowledge systems. Africa’s prodigious knowledge lore and humane practices must not be relegated, or be allowed to continue weathering prejudices, misinterpretations and misperceived aspersions that threaten them with total obliteration. There is an indigenous formula for creating ensemble themes that furnish the significant ensemble sound of a musical arts style and type. And every type or style makes epistemologi cal sense and imbues human meaning in African musical arts conceptualization. Indigenous musical arts comprise applied arts and science. The form and structure of an ensemble or solo musical performance are directed at accomplishing prescribed musical or extramusical objectives. Proactive aesthetics is a constant creative aspiration, irrespective of the utilitarian objective of any musical arts product. The fact of performed theory as well as the philosophi cal grounding of indigenous musical arts rationalizations must guide literacy advancement procedures. This is predicated on the cognizant discernment of heritage, which could then be cognitively refashioned to bestow humancultural originality to contemporary scholar ship and performance practices. The inescapable imperatives of the human cultural milieu in contemporary Africa mandates advancement initiatives that are literacy driven without compromising the seminal human merits (spontaneity in creativity included) that mark formal oral practices. Negotiating advancement in scholarship and performance on the drum and related instru mental music mandates a written repertory and, therefore, the rationalization of devices for notation. A notation system that will be faithful to the indigenous epistemological principles must take account of the sonic peculiarities of the instruments. We have rationalized notation symbols for modern classical drumming within the ambit of representing rhythmic construc tions in conventional music writing. The conventional rhythm notation is very appropriate for capturing the rhythmic configurations and performance sensitivities of indigenous African music. Our conceptualization and notation of drum music compositions for modern concert solo, duo or ensemble practices have incorporated the sonicvisual aesthetics of dance and the dramatic sensitization that mark indigenous models. Elements of sonicvisual theatre incor
porated and notated in modern classical African drumming include finger snapping, clapping, chest pounding, and the use of leg rattles to accentuate the rhythm of feet (dance). In conceiving and designing modern classical drumming, solo or otherwise, as sonic visual theatre, we have taken into account the fact that music making is primarily experienced as a shared, interpersonal or communal activity in indigenous Africa. It is not normal to encounter solo drumming as a private musical event in indigenous African cultures. However, my foremost indigenous mentor in African drum music theory and practice, Israel Anyahuru, did inform me that an urge to play would seize him when he had not performed an engage ment for some time. In such instances, he would indulge in solo drumming in the privacy of his room for personal psychical composure. The drum can be played as softly as a whisper and as loudly as a trumpeting elephant, and still communicate the desired psychical effects and affects. Modern classical solo or group drumming is conceived as a public musical event. Private solo drumming for selftherapy, which will also be discussed, does not require the theatrical dimensions of concert drumming. Instruments of music found in African ensembles perform specific ensemble music roles, which are derived from the sonic character and technological features of particular instru ments. The term, role, implies that the musical line played by any instrument in an ensemble is reasoned in human and social terms. In indigenous Africa, music is closely interwoven with how the society or community conducts its political, religious, health, economic, educational and social affairs. Everybody in an indigenous African community grows up with basic mu sicality acquired through obligatory participation, in any capacity, in appropriate musical arts performance sites from childhood. However, exceptional expertise is recognized even at a ten der age. Knowledge of the context combined with performance expertise marks the role of the mother musicians, particularly mother instrumentalists who play mother musical instruments such as the mother drum types, some woodwind, keyboard and string instruments. Africa abounds with drum music ensembles, and there are various types and styles. The utilitarian objective of a music type recommends the instruments that are included in an ensemble, as well as the musicological content and the theatre of presentation.
The psychological basis of African drum ensemble music
The psychological objectives of African drum ensemble music are subject to two primary conceptualizations that influence stylistic content: to generate psychoactive affect (excitation drumming), and to induce composure or a transcendental state of being (contemplative drum ming). The rationalization of the instruments in an ensemble, the compositional structures, the density or sparseness of texture, the thematic development technique, and the form and theatre for presentation, all derive from the psychological objectives basic to the context that prescribes the creation or performance of the music. The musical arts as a systemic product was strategic to preventive health care, and tar geted management of the healthy mind of every individual on the principle that a healthy mind induces a healthy body, and thereby healthy community living. The material and tech nology of indigenous musical instruments generate raw (cluster) harmonics that characterize melorhythmic sound energy. Raw harmonics that subtly massage sensitive body tissues, par ticularly brain tissues, combined with the science of sonic structures induces psychical health. The proliferation of crimes of all sorts from the sophisticated, conglomerate boardroom to the crude, street and home criminalities, and thereby inhumanity is as a result of pandemic psy
chical illhealth (diabolic spirituality) inflicting the contemporary human world everywhere. The imperative of freespirited, selfexpressive dancing as a component of musical arts mak ing particularly engenders psychophysical health. The applied objective of an indigenous drum ensemble music type determines the two styles of drumming that have been categorized, from psychological intentions, as psycho active or excitation drumming (cathartic effect) and contemplative drumming (sublime ef fect). In contemporary experience, African drum music has been generally misunderstood and, thereby misrepresented as euphoric drumming by Africans who have received a modern education and adhere to a modern religion. Euphoric or selfconsumed (Ego) drumming was not common in indigenous Africa, even in children’s playgroups. It is a contemporary mis perception and corruption of psychoactive drumming commonly promoted in pop music and “drum workshops” that lack serious intent and theoretical as well as psychological health underpinning. In the global imagination engaged with African music, thedjembedrumming style and ensemble of some West African societies are thought to represent standard practice and ex pertise in terms of technical display and instrumentation. This is primarily because the ex hibitionistic style ofdjembe performance that was necessitated by its specific indigenous cultural meaning has been abstracted and reinvented to suit modern superstar fancies. The reason is also because the artistic features of indigenousdjembe drum style, when isolated from its societalhuman context, are comparable to the Northern Hemispheric performance philosophy of professionalism and individualism. These are marked by an obsessive display of ego, as well as entertainment aspirations not ballasted by extramusical intentions and humanizing contexts for creativity and performance. EuropeanAmerican patrons and pro moters have globally misrepresented African drummers and drumming styles in manners that perceptually confuse the indigenous African conceptualization of drum music as tune making with the European classical music idea of percussion as sheer rhythmic fantasy and ecstasy. The technology and musical conceptualization of the typical African drum, which makes it a melorhythmic (tonelevel sensitive) instrument, requires the playing of tonebased tunes that can be sung.
Psychoactive or excitation drumming Psychoactive drumming could produce a transcendental effect in given contexts, particularly in susceptible/receptive participants and sometimes through autosuggestion. The density of linear texture that is sustained over the performance time expels the selfconsciousness or selfpresence of a subject, and could induce a state of altered consciousness. This could be accompanied by the manifestation of benign spirit essences that ride the psyche of a targeted persona, or other transcendental behaviour/actions – individual or group. Psychoactive drum ensemble music generally marks actionoriented music types and, according to the cluster harmonic science of melorhythmic instruments, also affects the human mind when applied to psychical healing or transformation.
Contemplative drumming The quintessence of the salubrious art of African drumming is the contemplative drumming style, which may interpose excitation drumming when needed, to create emotional and psychi cal balance. The science interplays physical/psychical tension and catharsis in accordance with African dualistic philosophy of life that informs creative theory and psychology. The interplay of tension/excitation and calmness/contemplation also is a basic artistic principle of form common in African indigenous musical arts presentation. The objective of contemplative drum
music, which informs the structural configuration, could be verbal language communication (drum telegraphy or dialogue between a drum and a speaking human voice); curative (drum music for personal or group therapy); group cohesion or team bonding; and the remedying of both selfinhibitive (extreme selfwithdrawal) and extroverted (overly selfassertive) personal ity traits. Thedjembedrum ensemble style is ideal for mass psychic catharsis. Both contemplative and excitation drumming frequently occur in the Western and Central African cultural areas of Africa. In contemporary southern Africa, the drum music intention and tradition exemplified by the density ofSangomastrategize therapeutic and drumming 3 psychical transformation structures. PsychoactiveSangomadrumming and the poetic danc ing that it generates and underlines have healing potency in indigenous medical science. Poetic dancing is a primary concept of dance in Africa south of the Sahara. Contemplative drumming has “classical” dimensions in terms of the systematic conformation and develop ment of basic structural elements, as well as the presentational form. The classical (contex tual) form for creativity and presentation in drum music is marked by an extremely elaborate conformation in theesemusic of the Igbo of Nigeria.Esemusic has five compartments (move ments) that match the five thematic subdivisions of the funerary scenario for meritorious adult men, which it marshals. Each compartment is identified by peculiar thematic, structural and mood characteristics, as well as a prescriptive theory of compositional procedure. The mother musician sonically conducts formalized contextual activities that transpire within each compartment.
Advancement initiatives
We have been engaged in researching and advancing the theory and practice of African drum music, both solo and ensemble, in the Ama Dialog Foundation for Africa & the World Arts in Nigeria, from a literacy perspective, since 1993. The research results have been ap plied in various playshopping programmes and contemporary classical concert composi tions. Research based in the Ama Dialog Foundation has resulted in designing African modern classical drumming for single membrane drum and tuned drum row types. Simple notation systems have been devised, and written concert repertory have been produced – drum solos, drummistic piano solos, duos for the drum and violin/wind instruments/voice, intercultural ensembles for mixed African indigenous and European classical instruments including the voice, as well as choral works derived from African indigenous vocal conformations, and symphonic works. African classical drumming concerts (solo, duo with voice/classical instru ments and intercultural ensembles) featuring modern trained singers and European classical instrumentalists have been given in parts of Europe and Africa. Modern classical drumming has now become an instrumental performance specialization in the Music Department of the 4 University of Pretoria, South Africa. At CIIMDA (Centre for Indigenous Instrumental Music and Dance Practices of Africa – Research, Education and Performance for SADC countries), we are focusing on the theory and practice of drum and dance ensembles that have mobilized concert activities by learners in the schools system. Personal drumming, psychoactive and contemplative, is a salubrious experience whether selfadministered to induce sleep (soporific therapy), or to contain anxiety, or to indulge crea
3 TheSangomadrumming style is explained in the brochure accompanying the DVD titled “SangomaDance Aesthetic – Choreo graphing spirituality” produced by Nzewi (2005) in CIIMDA. 4 The government of Norway, through the Norwegian Foreign Office, funds CIIMDA under a Framework for Cooperation (2004 2008) with the Rikskonsertene (Norwegian Concert Institute). CIIMDA is based in Pretoria, South Africa.
  • Accueil Accueil
  • Univers Univers
  • Ebooks Ebooks
  • Livres audio Livres audio
  • Presse Presse
  • BD BD
  • Documents Documents